- Shanghai-based international payments network UnionPay International said today that it's tapping the big U.S. payments processor Fiserv to expand its issuance of virtual and physical credit cards to markets outside of China, according to a joint press release from the companies.
- UnionPay will also make more use of the Brookfield, Wisconsin-based Fiserv's payments network to allow more businesses outside of China to accept UnionPay cards for payments.
- UnionPay has worked with Fiserv in the past, including as part of an arrangement last year under which MTFX Group's PayMyTuition tapped Fiserv to help facilitate the tuition payments of Chinese students who were studying overseas. The pact enabled students to pay using an array of card companies, including UnionPay, and then to settle the payments in foreign currencies, such as U.S. dollars.
By some measures, UnionPay operates the biggest card network in the world. Based on 2020 statistics from industry research firm Nilson Report, UnionPay's 8.96 billion credit and debit cards in circulation were the most of any company, but San Francisco-based Visa still ranks higher by other measures. Visa's transaction market share that year was 40% to UnionPay's 32%, according to Nilson.
While it has long been focused on its home market of China, the new Fiserv pact is the latest sign the company is reaching out to snare more business beyond its borders.
"Cooperation with Fiserv is an important step for UnionPay International to innovate its business development model and build a global network and an international brand," UnionPay CEO Li Xiaofeng said in the release.
UnionPay will use Fiserv's Carat omnichannel services to extend acceptance of the UnionPay cards to more online merchants and businesses, the release said.
During Fiserv's Tuesday fourth-quarter earnings call, CFO Bob Hau said the company has had "several notable international wins in the quarter, including an expanded partnership with UnionPay International."
Last year, UnionPay teamed with the fintech Splitit to expand in the South Pacific region, extending the use of the card company's services to more consumers and merchants.
UnionPay rival Visa, the largest U.S. card network company, isn't sitting idle while the big international competitor expands. Aside from its own international partnerships, including with BBPOS International in Hong Kong, Visa is splashing its name across ski jumps and TV screens internationally at the moment through its sponsorship of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.